I’ve been thinking a lot about the one change I have made in my life that has had the single biggest impact. And as you know, I’ve changed a lot of things in my life! I wanted to share it with you, because I see this behavior all the time. Not just with my clients, but with friends, family, everyone. We all do it. And for many of us, it seems so normal and maybe even helpful that we don’t even realize we are doing it.
The thing that changed it all for me was establishing a zero tolerance policy for beating myself up. No longer “trying” not to beat myself up. Just not allowing it at all.
No negative self talk.
No self blame.
No self judgment.
No being mean to myself.
We judge ourselves all the time. We do this naturally. We do it unconsciously. It doesn’t mean there is anything wrong with us. I think part of us thinks it is for our own good, or will help us become a better person.
But being mean to ourselves does not make us into a better person! Check in with yourself and your own experience. Has it helped you become a better person? Really? My guess is no.
And judging ourselves harshly, beating ourselves up, criticizing ourselves, comparing ourselves negatively to others, does not help us grow or evolve. It just makes us feel crappy. It just keeps us stuck.
The hardest part of this no tolerance policy is that when you catch yourself beating yourself up (and you will, because it’s a habit), you can’t beat yourself up for that! Kindly, gently, redirect your mind. Apologize to yourself if you want. Move on.
We all have that harsh inner critic voice. It’s a normal part of you too. It’s just trying to protect you and help you. You don’t have to be mean back to it – that’s being mean to a well meaning, if misguided part of you. You can just understand that it’s a part of your brain. A primitive scared part. You don’t have to listen to it. You don’t have to argue with it. I like to thank it for sharing and move on. ❤️
I know I used to be confused about self criticism versus self awareness. Certainly, I think there is great value in examining my actions, my behavior, my choices, my life in general, and seeing what I like and don’t like. What has worked and not worked. Where I wish I had been kinder, stronger, or done something differently. Understanding why I made the choices I did. Asking myself if I like the results. Asking how I can make better decisions in the future based on my past experiences.
Having curiosity and reflecting on oneself and one’s life is very useful. It won’t hurt. Self judgment and self criticism hurt. That’s how you know the difference. If you feel less-than, inadequate, embarrassed, ashamed, or like you’ve just slapped yourself – you’re beating yourself up. If you feel curious and interested – that’s self-awareness. See if you can make the switch.
PS – Anyone else out there with this experience? What has it changed for you?